How To Clean White Converse

How To Clean White Converse

Image: @newenglandmenswear

Keeping your sneakers looking fresh can often be easier said than done. If they’re subjected to daily wear then you may find you simply don’t have the time to keep up with a strict maintenance schedule.

Naturally, sneakers in darker colours, such as black and blue, won’t require as much upkeep as their white sneaker counterparts, but taking a cloth and a brush to them every so often will only increase their life expectancy.

One of the most popular pairs of casual sneakers on the market is Converse. The former shoe of choice for professional basketball players (before Nike muscled its way in) has since enjoyed notoriety worldwide for its distinctive and original style, a plethora of colours and their ability to be worn by pretty much everyone.

However, what makes Converse so popular is also its downfall when it comes to cleaning: their use of canvas. Canvas, being a cloth material can accumulate dirt and grime incredibly easily and so it doesn’t take long for your new, bright white Connies to start looking a little worse for wear.

Fortunately, there are numerous methods you can use to clean them effectively, and all of them don’t require the use of a washing machine. For the record, you should never use a washing machine in an attempt to clean your Converse; the company states on its own website “Do Not Machine Wash Or Dry”.

However, many Converse owners have decided to ignore this advice and use a washing machine as the final step of a cleaning process. Despite several claims that putting your white Converse in a washing machine works wonders, we have to stress that you can risk them becoming damaged. But we’re not here to tell you what you can and can’t do, they’re your shoes after all.

Converse does, however, suggest some cleaning advice of its own, which includes using a damp cloth to rub some lukewarm water, mixed with a mild soap onto your white Converse sneakers to keep them clean. While using this method will provide results, there are others you can use that will keep them whiter for longer.

How To Clean White Converse Sneakers

Use Protection

Before you even think about slipping into your brand new pair of white Converse sneakers, you should invest in a protective spray or solution. These products can help to defend against water and splashes of dirt and makes them easier to clean in the long-run. Most shoe protector sprays and solutions will need to be applied and then left to dry overnight to ensure they perform to their best.

You can reapply your protective spray after each clean to help keep your Converse sneakers white for as long as possible.

Make A Homemade Cleaning Paste

While you could follow Converse’s own tip of using warm water and mild soap, you can achieve greater results simply by using some everyday household items to make your own cleaning paste.

You will need some white vinegar and some baking soda to formulate a paste – roughly two parts baking soda to three parts white vinegar – and use a toothbrush to gently work the paste into the dirty areas. You should mix the two ingredients together in a plastic or glass bowl, and not a metal one because the metal can potentially react negatively with the vinegar.

Remove the laces first, before soaking your white Converse in cold water to help dislodge any loose dirt. It’s important you use cold water because using warm or hot water greatly increases the risk that any stains already on your Converse sneakers will set in.

Once they’re soaked through, you can get to work cleaning. The shoelaces can be washed in warm water and soap separately, although replacing them with an inexpensive pair of fresh white laces is the more convenient option.

Start with the sole and work your way up, and once you’ve finished cleaning a section, rinse it in warm water and marvel at the results. If said results aren’t up to your standard, you can clean the area again using the same paste.

Finally, rinse your Converse sneakers once again in cold water and leave to air dry. If you’re feeling brave, you can put your sneakers in the washing machine before air drying them, but don’t complain if they lose their shape. An effective way of helping to retain the shape of your Converse sneakers is to stuff them with socks or newspaper once they come out of the machine or invest in some proper shoe trees.

Use A Magic Eraser

For quick and easy cleaning on-the-go, you can try using some shoe-specific cleaning wipes, or a magic eraser. Magic Eraser is the official brand name of a product from Proctor & Gamble’s range of ‘Mr. Clean’ cleaning products, but you can find other imitation versions online and in select stores.

Magic Erasers are made from a material not too dissimilar to sandpaper, in that they are abrasive. You need to wet the Magic Eraser before you use it, but once you do, the melamine chemical compound that provides the “magic” is released and strategically designed and placed triangles harden so that they are able to catch and drag away any dirt or marks.

Be careful when using a Magic Eraser on main canvas sections of your white Converse – don’t worry, it works wonders on the rubber sole and toe cap – as the friction can cause the eraser to tear. If you only have small dirt marks on your Converse, we would recommend using the baking soda and white vinegar paste method instead. Only use a Magic Eraser on large spots of dirt.

As with the homemade paste method, once you’ve finished using the Magic Eraser on your Converse, rinse in cold water and/or put them in the washing machine on a hot, standard-length cycle along with some mild detergent – never use bleach – and leave them in the sun to dry naturally.

Enjoy Clean White Converse

Follow these simple steps and you should end up with white Converse sneakers that look good as new. We won’t say they’ll look just like new as a disclaimer because it’s unlikely all of the dirt will be removed from the shoes. However, their appearance will certainly be improved, that is a guarantee.